Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Sator Review: An Atmospheric Horror Film That Does So Much Right

Michael Daniel	...	Pete Rachel Johnson	Rachel Johnson	...	Evie Aurora Lowe	Aurora Lowe	...	Deborah Gabriel Nicholson	Gabriel Nicholson	...	Adam June Peterson	June Peterson	...	Nani Wendy Taylor	Wendy Taylor	...	Mother

Release date: February 9, 2021
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: Michael Daniel, Rachel Johnson, Aurora Lowe
Written and Directed By: Jordan Graham

Secluded in a desolate forest home to little more than the decaying remnants of the past, a broken family is further torn apart by a mysterious death. Adam, guided by a pervasive sense of dread, hunts for answers only to learn that they are not alone; an insidious presence by the name of Sator has been observing his family, subtly influencing all of them for years in an attempt to claim them.

Elias Adamopoulos	...	executive producer Jennifer Graham	...	executive producer Jordan Graham	...	producer   V
Sator is just a very well done and creepy indie horror film.  The movie has such a strong style and sense of purpose.  It starts with a home movie style introduction, with black and white film and a small viewing area to let you know you are watching something prerecorded from the past.  And although the film doesn't stay in this format, it does intersperse these home movie style past shots with the events taking place in the present.  And these home movies have a definite style and story that ties into the main film.  I really liked how the home movie aspect incorporated background for the film as well as an introduction / title sequence.  It really helped to set this apart and let you know that this was part of the overall film.  And in these respects, Sator feels very much like an art house film, with these black and white shots and limited dialog throughout.  But that is not a bad thing as it just contributes to the uniqueness of this film. 

On top of the intriguing aspects of the film, Sator has a very strong atmosphere throughout.  The film takes place mostly in an isolated cabin in the woods, and the movie leans on this heavily.  Many shots occur in the dark woods, with only a flashlight to lead the viewer along and the character surrounded by pitch darkness.  And the movie uses unsettling sounds and voices to set the mood further, really causing the viewer to be engrossed in the whole experience.  When you are out in the woods or alone in a dark cabin, it really feels all encompassing.  And although the film does not have much dialogue throughout, it does lead the few dialog interactions to carry more weight and be more of a focus for the viewer.  But Sator thankfully doesn't explain everything, leaving plenty of mystery left after the film's conclusion. 

And although Sator feels very indie, it also often does not feel indie.  Jordan Graham has some really wonderful shots and is able to establish a creepy atmosphere that feels authentic and will fully draw you in.  The camera work and filters are all high quality, and the movie just is a joy to watch.  It also has some perfect practical effects to up the creepiness factor.  There are some very smart uses of wilderness effects and items to create unsettling scenes that feel perfectly at place in this world.  And the movie does use a few CG parts, but they are well utilized and do not break the immersion at all.  

Sator is a wonderfully done indie horror movie with great atmosphere, effects, and creepiness telling a unique story that pushes the genre while staying so true to what makes it great.  

Watch it.

Horror Wilderness Woods Atmosphere Creepy Scary Thriller Tense Tension
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Sator is available digitally and on demand on February 9, 2021.

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